Kottayam-native Nidhi Shosha Kurian is a daring young woman who embarked on a solo pan-India trip in her car. When Nidhi started her long and arduous journey from Ernakulam in February, her desire was to wind up the trip in Kanyakumari, but the raging COVID-19 pandemic poured cold water on her plans. After traversing India in 92 days, Nidhi wanted to sign off by seeing the sunset at Kanyakumari, but it never happened due to the pestilence.
“I am planning to visit Kanyakumari after the epidemic wanes to give a perfect end to my solo trip across the country,” says Nidhi.
How she made it
Driving all alone, that too for more than two months, can be taxing for anyone and not many women had attempted a solo drive through India. After starting her tour from Kochi, Nidhi reached Kolkata after passing through Puducherry, Mahabalipuram, Chennai, Guntur, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Puri and Bhubaneswar. From the capital city of West Bengal, Nidhi drove through north India with Himalayas in the backdrop. Later she touched Delhi, Rajasthan, where she got a feel of the hot desert, and Gujarat. Nidhi’s initial plan was to conclude her trip at Kanyakumari by driving via Mumbai, Pune, Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram but couldn’t make it due to COVID-19-triggered restrictions. Finally she reached her home in Kottayam on May 7.
“I was fortunate enough to see the sunrise and sunset in all places I visited and those were the most cherished moments of my journey. And that’s why I believe that my trip could have been complete with the sunset at Kanyakumari. Presently, the pandemic has put brakes on my travel plans,” notes Nidhi.
Bumps on the way
When Nidhi started her unique expedition the spread of coronavirus was not that severe but the second wave of the pandemic had hit the country hard when she was on her way back to south India.
“I got stuck in many places without food. I could see fear in the eyes of people as the deadly virus was spreading fast. Scores of people lost their lives due to lack of oxygen. People were also keeping me at bay out of fear as I had travelled to many places,” Nishi adds.
The Delhi government announced lockdown on weekends when Nidhi reached the neighbouring state of Haryana and was forced to stay in Karnal. She left for Delhi on a Monday morning and after reaching the national capital came to know that the authorities concerned were extending the COVID restrictions.
“As it was not safe to stay back in Delhi, I left for Jaipur immediately. But when I reached Jaipur, the pink city was also under lockdown. I stayed there for one week and the food was provided by some Keralite friends,” she remembers.
The next destination was Udaipur and from there she drove to Goa. Curfew was clamped in Goa as the coronavirus was wreaking havoc in the coastal state too. After staying with a Keralite woman for three days in Goa, Nidhi pressed the gas pedal to reach Kollur in Karnataka. There she visited the famous Mookambika temple and the holy Souparnika River.
As there were indications that Kerala too would announce lockdown, she took the road leading to her home state and reached Kochi a day before the travel and other restrictions were to be enforced.
“I couldn’t travel to Kanyakumari due to restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. I will drive to Kanyakumari after the COVID crisis are over,” she concludes.